I don’t know about you, but it seems like summers are getting hotter each year. Whatever you believe the reason is, or whether you agree with me or not, there is one thing we can all agree on – the best way to cool off in the summer is with water.

DIY Water Obstacle Course

Photo courtesy of Home Depot

Your local hardware store can be a major inspiration for some great outdoor fun! Take a hint from plumbers, PVC pipe is always great to use with water! You can even cut a slit in pool noodles to put over the PVC for added color and safety! You can buy fittings that will connect the PVC to your garden hose. With a bit of help from a drill and a drill bit, you can make a great water obstacle course!

Dunk Tank

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A homemade dunk tank is loads of fun for the family. It is also great if your neighborhood has block parties. You can build a frame with PVC or even wood. There are a lot of designs online if you need a little help figuring out how to make the bucket dump. What you put in the bucket can also vary depending on the temperature outdoors, how messy you want it, and who is underneath!

Slip and Slide

Photo courtesy of Chicago Canvas & Supply

Slip and slides are a classic form of summer entertainment. They work best on a hill, but even some flat land will work. The area should be clear of rocks to avoid injury. You can buy a boxed slip and slide from the store, or you can make your own with a tarp and a little dish soap! The tarp can always be reused in winter to make a greenhouse for your garden when paired with some posts or PVC!

Water Balloon Fight

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Water balloon fights are a summer must-do. They are a great way for siblings to get out some aggression with each other as well! You should always implement a rule that no one throws at someone’s face. You can do water balloons the old-fashioned way by holding a balloon underwater, or use a more modern approach like shown above, where you can get hundreds of balloons in minutes!


Photo property of Amy Garrett

Sprinklers have been around forever, but provide endless entertainment. As an added bonus, your grass will get watered and provide a lush playing field for the next sprinkler day fun! There are all sorts of different types of sprinklers you can buy that do all sorts of patterns!

Go For A Hike, Find a Creek!

Photo property of Amy Garrett

Almost all towns and cities have a website where you can look up different parks and hiking trails. You can find a trail for a family hike that just so happens to go by a stream! The kids will have a blast playing in the stream or pond and cooling off mid-way through a hike. I suggest midway, because it cools them off but gives them time to try before they get back in the car!


Photo property of Amy Garrett

You can find a kiddie pool for pretty cheap. As the size goes up, so does the price. A lot of times you can find good deals off-season or get an open-box deal on Amazon. Pools are a great way to cool off and relax. If you get a large enough pool, you can get flotation devices and rafts so you can enjoy it too!

Squirt Gun Fights

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Squirt gun fights are a lot of fun for the whole family. You can change the rules each time you play for a unique experience. It can be boys against girls or parents against kids!

Water Balloon Tag

Playing tag is fun, but on a hot summer day why not add water? Instead of physically tagging someone with a hand, the ” it ” person has to throw a water balloon! You could even find a way to make little balloon carrier aprons for the kids to wear around their waist so they always have ammo!

Duck, Duck, Splash!

Photo courtesy of inspirationmadesimple.com

Duck, duck, splash is a fun watery take on the classic duck, duck goose game. The child walking around the circle saying “duck” will be holding a bucket. When they reach their intended target, they yell “splash!” and dump the water on the person. The rest of the game goes as you remember it. A little chase and either a catch or no catch determines the next one holding the bucket!

Pool Fishing

Photo courtesy of mommyuniversitynj.com

You can do some backyard fishing with a little kiddle pool! You can find magnetic fish and magnetic poles or find floating fish and use nets. You can turn it into a game by saying the person who catches the most wins. You can also turn it into an educational teaching tool for younger kids by asking them to “catch” the yellow (or blue, or red, etc.) fish.

Squirt Gun Cup Race

Photo courtesy of wikihow.com

Poke a hole in two (or more) plastic cups and string them on some line. You can use whatever you have around the house! Make the cups even, and give the kids a squirt gun. Each kid is assigned a cup. They will use the squirt gun to squirt the water into the cup on a string. The object or goal is to get your cup to the finish line first!

Ice Chalk

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Get some ice cube trays and crush some chalk up into the bottom of the tray. Use different colors and mix colors if needed. If you have any colored Mica powder, you could use that instead. Then, fill the trays with water and let it freeze. Now you have some colored ice that will leave a color trail as it melts!

Water Balloon Dodgeball

Photo courtesy of crossfitforest.com

Water balloon dodgeball is exactly what it sounds like. Swap the dodgeball for a water balloon! This is a lot of fun on a hot summer day. It is also a lot safer. There should be less bloody noses and black eyes when playing with a water balloon instead of a hard playground ball!

Splash Pad

Photo property of Amy Garrett

Many cities have splash pads available for kids to play in within their city parks, zoos and playgrounds. If your city doesn’t have any, they are too far to drive to, or you would rather stay at home there are still many options! You can buy ready-to-go splash pads online or even in local stores. These screw onto a hose and are ready to go! If you are crafty, you can always create your own!

Car Wash

Photo courtesy of fun-a-day.com

A little dish soap (or car soap), a bucket, sponges or rags and some water creates outdoor fun for the kids, and saves mom/dad from spending money going to the car wash! Kids love to see the bubbles sudsing on the car, and are amazed at how dirty a car can get!

Water Balloon Pinata

Photo courtesy of hellowonderful.co

You can get a string and string up one or more water balloons! Kids will have a blast trying to get the balloon to pop! If you think your child will be disappointed that there is not a ton of candy inside, you can always go to a dollar store and find a small snack, toy, or another prize (that is waterproof!) that you can slip inside the balloon before filling it up!

PVC Sprinkler Limbo

Photo courtesy of kkpreschool.org

Limbo is fun for kids and adults! Water Limbo is even more fun, especially on a hot summer day! All you need is a few pieces of PVC, a way to make holes in one, and your water hose! You can even devise a way to raise and lower the bar…making it a real Limbo!

Water Balloon Catapult

Photo courtesy of FrugalFun4Boys

This is a favorite of kids (and dads!). Using wood (or even PVC) from the hardware store, and some stretchy bands, you can create a water balloon launcher! If you want to reuse things from around the house, think about that exercise band you never use, and the really ugly face mask you were given but wouldn’t dare wear in public!

Frozen T-Shirt Race

Photo courtesy of familyrecipesandmore.com

What is a wet t-shirt race? Too easy, and you already have what you need! Get one shirt per kid, get it wet, and freeze it for a little while. Take it out and distribute the frozen shirts to the appropriate player. Let the kids race to see who can get their frozen t-shirt on first!

Mud Puddle Fun

Photo property of Amy Garrett

There are a LOT of things your kids can do outside in the mud. If you have an area of the yard that isn’t grassy, making a mud puddle is easy! You can also make one in a kiddie pool without ruining your lawn. Build a balance beam and let the kids cross. If they wobble and fall they land in the mud! You can also get a really big rope and do some classic tug-of-war. Also, who doesn’t love making mud pies!

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Of course, these are only a few ideas to get you started! Below are some of our other favorites.

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